Christ United Methodist Church in Bethel Park is in full holiday prep mode as Advent approaches, and that includes reinventing their traditional Angel Tree gift collection to keep people safe during the pandemic.
In years past, congregation members could select a white angel from various trees in the church hallways that listed a ministry agency and an item on its wish list. After the gift was purchased, it was wrapped in white to be presented at the altar in early December. The white paper on the gift hid the contents. and the wrapped gifts laid at the altar symbolized that all gifts given to the glory of God are worthy. Last year over 800 gifts valued at $12,663 were collected.
"This year will be different," said Jeanna-Mar Simmons, director of mission and outreach at the church. "We are conducting our Angel Tree virtually. It is kind of exciting to see how it is all falling into place!"
The trees with white angels have been replaced with lighted trees with one larger angel on each. The angel's red robe has a QR code on the front, leading to information on the church's website at christumc.net/angeltree
, where there are details on the ministries.
Nine organizations serving the needs of people in the Pittsburgh area are listed with their wish lists. Six of those organizations have United Methodist connections, including:
"You can make your gift selection online and ship it directly to the church," Simmons explains. "We are also encouraging shoppers to use Amazon Smile, designating Bethel Park Christ Church as the beneficiary. I will see that the gifts get to the correct agencies."
"The connectional spirit of the United Methodist Church is alive and thriving!" Simmons said. "Many people have begun to select items from the website to purchase and deliveries are being made to the church. God is good and his people respond to the needs of the community."